Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Looking at Ken Lay and the Lack of Financial Crisis Cases


Kenneth L. Lay, the former chief executive of Enron, died of a heart attack five years ago today. The stunning news came a month after a Houston jury convicted him of securities fraud and three months before his scheduled sentencing.

Mr. Lay, along with Enron’s president, Jeffrey K. Skilling, became the public symbol of executive wrongdoing and financial malfeasance after the stock market boom of the late 1990s turned to bust.

Why does this matter today?

The media and public continue to hammer away at the lack of criminal prosecutions related to the financial crisis. In a New York magazine cover story this week, Frank Rich wrote: “What haunts the Obama administration is what still haunts the country: the stunning lack of accountability for the greed and misdeeds that brought America to its gravest financial crisis since the Great Depression. There has been no legal, moral, or financial reckoning for the most powerful wrongdoers.”

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